This week we're going to start a three-part (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc) look at the role of the pre-modern general or army commander, particularly in the context of a pitched battle. This is of course a vast topic, but we are going to focus not on tactical or strategic questions but on a lot … Continue reading Collections: Total Generalship: Commanding Pre-Modern Armies, Part I: Reports
Building on last week's post on tanks and a few of the comments there, this week I wanted to talk about the ancient (and medieval) weapon-systems often analogized to tanks and the degree to which they had a role similar to tanks. I have lost count of how many times I have seen in this … Continue reading Collections: Ancient ‘Tanks’? Chariots, Scythed Chariots and Carroballistae
(There were some technical difficulties with this post when it first went live. They should be resolved now. My apologies for anyone who got multiple email updates as a result of efforts to get the post working.) This week we're going to look at everyone's favorite kind of armored fighting vehicle, the tank. In part … Continue reading Collections: When is a ‘Tank’ Not a Tank?
This week we're going to take a long look at Expeditions: Rome, a turn-based tactics RPG by developer Logic Artists, set in the first century BC Late Roman Republic. In particular, we're going to look at how the game both constructs and uses its historical setting. This is a particularly important topic to discuss because … Continue reading Collections: Expeditions: Rome and the Perils of Verisimilitude
This week, we're going to take a break from the more serious topics to look at infantry tactics and compositions in the Total War series, particularly in the light of the recent Total War: Warhammer III, a real-time strategy game set in a late-medieval/early-modern high fantasy setting (the Warhammer setting) and how well (or poorly) … Continue reading Collection: Total War’s Missing Infantry-Type
This week, we're taking a break from the modern world to tackle the 'runner up' question from the first ACOUP Senate poll: How did the Roman dictatorship work and was it effective? This is one of those questions that seems very simple but isn't. After all, what most people know about the Roman dictatorship is … Continue reading Collections: The Roman Dictatorship: How Did It Work? Did It Work?
Thanks to our ever helpful volunteer narrator, this post is now also available in audio format. This week I wanted to expand on something I touched on only briefly in our 'explainer' on Putin's War in Ukraine: the "delicate balance of terror" of nuclear deterrence. Of course this is a complex and much debated topic, … Continue reading Collections: Nuclear Deterrence 101
Thanks to our volunteer narrator, this post is now available in audio format. This week, in an effort to fill in some of the theoretical basis for thinking about how weaker powers think about fighting against or defending themselves from stronger powers, I'm going to give you all a basic 101-level survey of the theory … Continue reading Collections: How the Weak Can Win – A Primer on Protracted War
This is the third and final part (I, II) of our series tackling the complicated and still debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In our first part, we looked at the question through the prism of 'words' - language, culture, religion and literature. There we found a lot … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part III: Things
This is the second of a three part (I) series tackling the complicated and still very much debated question of 'how bad was the fall of Rome (in the West)?' In the last part, we looked at 'words' - culture, literature, language and religion. What we found is that in these aspects, signs of sharp … Continue reading Collections: Rome: Decline and Fall? Part II: Institutions